I get a bit excited about Christmas. My husband rolls his eyes at me whilst mine sparkle as I talk about all the plans I have. It includes making gingerbread houses, watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, driving round the streets to see the Christmas lights, going to the pantomime, visiting Christmas displays in the local garden centres, making Christmas cards and planning what presents we are going to buy. I enjoy thinking about how to make not only the day but the build up to Christmas special and memorable for my children.
I want the children to look forward to the day and build a sense of anticipation and expectation in their hearts. On the evening of the 30th November when the children are asleep I decorate the hallway and stairs with a Winter Wonderland display. There are snowflakes, penguins, snowmen, tinsel, a Christmas postbox and an advent calendar full of chocolate. So, on the 1st December when the children wake up the journey to Christmas has begun.
There are suitable oohs and aahs as they come down the stairs and excitement to see the snowflakes dangling from the ceiling, to touch the fluffy snowmen and of course taste the chocolate peeping out of the calendar pockets. I film their response every year so I have a memory to treasure.
The decorations in my home shout loudly ‘Christmas is Coming’ but I never want it to drown out ‘Christ Came’. As a parent whose heart is set on discipling my children Advent is a precious season and one I want to experience with my kids. There are actually lots of practical and fun ideas online that will give you plenty of opportunity to help you as a family to participate in Advent. Here are 5 that I’ve chosen to share with you.
Daily Readings of the Christmas Story
Here is a great, simple resource of 25 daily readings re-telling the Nativity Story that are suitable especially for young children. http://happyhomefairy.com/bible-verse-advent-cards-free-printables/.
Acts of Kindness
For those of you who are ‘do-ers’ the Bible Society have an online Advent Challenge that you can get involved with. Simply follow this https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/adventchallenge/ and sign up. You will be given a choice of 3 Acts of Kindness each day of advent and you can pick which one suits you the best.
This is a great way to look at God’s story of salvation from the stories of the Old Testament leading up to the coming of Christ. Each day there is a picture to colour that represents a story from the Old Testament which is then hung on your Jesse tree. Click on this link https://www.myjessetree.com/ to get free copies of the printable ornaments.
Salt dough Spiral
I like this visual idea to show that during Advent we are waiting to celebrate the arrival of the Light of the World. You can use one candle and move it forward each day or add a candle each day so that the spiral is full of light on Christmas day. It provides opportunity to talk about Jesus is our light, our hope in the darkness. Here is a recipe for how to make it http://www.kimzkitchen.com/family-snapshots/how-to-make-an-advent-spiral-and-why-today-isnt-too-late/
Reverse Advent calendar
Grab a hamper or a large cardboard box and each day of Advent you add something to it and on Christmas Eve you donate the contents to a foodbank or to someone you know who is in need. What a great way to get kids involved in giving at Christmas.
I hope that these have given you some ideas for what you can do at home. The best thing is that even if you haven’t yet thought about celebrating Advent with your kids there is still time to do these. If you have any other suggestions and ideas please do comment below.